Colorado’s reputation as a premier outdoors destination precedes it, luring adventurous couples from across the U.S. who want to explore Rocky Mountain National Park and other natural areas. But if you and your partner rush out into the Rockies too soon, you’ll miss out on everything Colorado’s Front Range cities and resorts have to offer.
To help you plan your trip, U.S. News scoured the state in search of the most romantic getaways in Colorado. Whether your dream vacation means skiing down a mountain, soaking in a hot spring, sailing across a zip line, perusing a museum or something else entirely, you’ll find it all in the Centennial State.
Rocky Mountain National Park abounds with opportunities to take your breath away. Offering everything from hiking and biking to climbing and horseback riding, the national park provides a natural playground that’s sure to delight outdoorsy duos on weekend getaways or romantic retreats.
Those with warm enough sleeping bags and a taste for adventure can opt to camp in the more than 265,000-acre park; however, Estes Park and other nearby towns offer more traditional accommodation options if you and your beau don’t want to rough it. A variety of national park tours, including private personalized expeditions, depart from Estes Park. Though formal restaurants are essentially absent (the Alpine Visitor Center does offer snacks), the park’s numerous scenic overlooks provide excellent impromptu spots for romantic picnics.
You’ll want to put aside at least a half-day for a drive down Trail Ridge Road. The iconic stretch of highway runs 48 miles from Estes Park to Grand Lake and presents travelers with a sampling of all Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer, including tundra, forests and meadows. If you’re not comfortable driving the mountain roads, book a Green Jeep Tour to learn about the park’s history with an experienced guide at the wheel. Twosomes who enjoy more challenging scenic drives should consider taking the Old Fall River Road, a one-way gravel road that travels 11 miles west before merging with the Trail Ridge Road. Keep in mind that many of the park’s roads and other attractions close when the snowfall begins accumulating, usually in late October.
Perched above Estes Park, The Stanley Hotel looms over the picturesque town as its most famous attraction and an excellent place to bed down. The Stanley Hotel opened in 1909 and rapidly modernized the quiet valley. Since opening, the hotel has hosted numerous distinguished guests, including President Theodore Roosevelt and former Japanese Emperor Akihito. Still, most travelers know the hotel from its role in inspiring Stephen King’s novel “The Shining.” Couples who enjoy cuddling during a scary movie and hearing ghost stories in general appreciate the guided night tour at this supposedly haunted hotel. Alternatively, anyone interested in the hotel’s broad history can opt for the day tour. After spending a few hours touring the property or exploring the area around it, retire to the hotel’s impressive rooms, which are decorated in earth tones and provide standard amenities like Wi-Fi access and flat-screen TVs.
Known as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park provides the perfect middle ground for nature-loving twosomes who still crave some creature comforts. Elkhorn and Moraine avenues, the town’s main thoroughfares, are where you’ll find several cozy, romantic restaurants. Consider grabbing a bite to eat at Bird & Jim, which features a variety of rustic dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. You and your partner can also peruse Estes Park’s art galleries or test your own talent with an acrylic pour painting class. No visit would be complete without capturing panoramic views from the Estes Park Aerial Tramway, which whisks riders more than 1,000 vertical feet to the peak of Prospect Mountain in the warmer months. Estes Park sits less than 70 miles northwest of Denver, making it easily accessible for most Colorado couples.
(Courtesy of Breckenridge Tourism Office)
Breckenridge stands out from the bevy of ski towns in the Colorado Rockies thanks to its well-preserved Historic District. Main Street showcases Breckenridge’s new and old Victorian buildings (any new construction must blend with the Victorian theme), fostering a uniquely romantic environment. History-loving duos who want to learn more about the town’s past should book a ghost tour. Still, Breckenridge‘s main attraction is Breckenridge Ski Resort – one of Colorado’s top ski destinations – which offers a respectable 2,908 skiable acres. Couples don’t need to stay at the resort to go skiing, though, so be sure to compare the best hotels in Breckenridge. Some options provide the all-important amenity – ski-in, ski-out access – as well as perks such as locker rooms and equipment storage (think: One Ski Hill Place, A RockResort).
However, there is much more to Breckenridge than skiing. Couples will find plenty of ways to entertain themselves year-round. Head to Carter Park, a beloved downtown spot, to try sledding down its large hill. You can also spend a few hours biking, skating or hiking the downhill, nearly 15-mile Vail Pass Path, which offers breathtaking panoramas on the way to Frisco from Breckenridge. For a slower ride, try a three-hour fat bike beer and distillery tour, where twosomes can slip into a beer jacket while sipping and peddling through snowy landscapes. Boreas Pass Road also provides an excellent scenic drive, attracting leaf-peeping lovebirds with stunning aspen trees during fall.
(Courtesy of Sonnenalp Hotel)
The primary attraction in Vail is its unmatched powder snow, but even couples who struggle down the bunny slope will find something to love in this luxurious mountain town. Like many of the best hotels in Vail, the storied Sonnenalp Hotel – which has welcomed guests since 1979 – mirrors Vail’s versatility. The property sits at the base of Vail Ski Resort, satisfying the needs of powder hounds and relaxation seekers with its convenient location and variety of top-notch amenities.
For couples keen on skiing, the hotel’s proximity to Vail Ski Resort makes it easy to maximize time on the resort’s more than 145 miles of trails. Meanwhile, twosomes who’d rather lounge on-site can head to the Sonnenalp Spa to enjoy a treatment or a dip in one of several indoor-outdoor pools and whirlpools. The hotel also offers an 18-hole golf course for those who’d rather hit the links. After spending a few hours on or off the property, explore Vail’s Bavarian-style downtown of glitzy shops and eateries or sit for a meal at one of the Sonnenalp Hotel’s quiet, romantic restaurants before retiring for the night. Bully Ranch earns particular praise from past guests for its personable staff and standout food.
All of the chalet-style hotel’s accommodations are best described as cozy. Rooms and suites come outfitted with exposed wood and plaid fabrics, complementing the custom-made Bavarian furniture and views of Gore Creek or Vail Village (mountain views cost extra). What’s more, all bathrooms boast heated floors, a satisfying luxury after a long day on the slopes. Couples who want to splurge for a bit of additional space can choose from a variety of suites, all of which include gas fireplaces befitting the property’s romantic ambiance.
(Courtesy of The Broadmoor)
The Broadmoor has impressed visitors and industry experts since it opened in 1918, earning it the title of the longest-running consecutive winner of both the AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star awards. So, it’s no surprise the property is one of Colorado’s top romantic destinations. While The Broadmoor is a stellar resort by any measure, recent guests agree that the Colorado Springs fixture stands out in two categories: food and activities.
A broad selection of on-site activities and amenities, including golf, tennis, pools and a luxurious spa, all help cement The Broadmoor as a destination in and of itself for active couples. Anyone looking for a romantic jaunt outside The Broadmoor’s grounds will have their pick of adventures, ranging from a hike around stunning Seven Falls to a scenic ride on The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway to a zip line excursion across South Cheyenne Canyon. (Couples can also book zip lining tours in Seven Falls through third-party groups.) As for food, numerous restaurants and cafes and lounges make up The Broadmoor’s offerings. Couples can dine on Italian cuisine and split a bottle of wine at Ristorante Del Lago one night, or tuck into a meal at Summit, which blends regional cuisine from across the Americas.
The Broadmoor is a huge resort, offering 784 rooms, suites, cottages and brownstones, plus a full estate. All standard accommodations can be described as majestic thanks to their extravagant headboards and intricately patterned textiles, as well as standard amenities like Wi-Fi access and flat-screen TVs. Lovebirds in search of additional privacy can partake in one of the resort’s Wilderness Experiences: off-site camps and ranches that take the property’s bespoke atmosphere deeper into the mountains for access to more outdoorsy offerings, such as fly-fishing and scenic hikes.
(Courtesy of Visit Colorado Springs)
Also located in Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods earns its distinction as a National Natural Landmark with sandstone rock formations jutting 300 feet upward and scraping the sky. Couples can start their visits with a sunrise hot air balloon flight, which comes with a light breakfast and Champagne, before picking up maps from the visitor and nature center to use on an almost full-day hike around the red rock formations. Adventurous duos can also enjoy bike and electric bike rides, Jeep tours, and even climbing excursions. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can grab lunch at Bean Sprouts Café (located in the visitor center) or bring a packed lunch to one of the park’s picnic areas.
Colorado is home to countless mountains, but 58 of them hold the distinction of being “14ers,” meaning their peaks exceed 14,000 feet. Bagging a 14er, or summiting one of these extra-imposing mountains, has a special place in the heart of hikers. They’re also pretty memorable spots to get down on one knee. Couples who enjoy a challenging trek will appreciate the stunning views and sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a 14er, but these difficult hikes are not to be taken lightly: Altitude, wind and hydration all present unique obstacles. Grays and Torreys peaks stand out as two challenging, achievable 14ers for adventurous duos to hike.
Both peaks sit about 60 miles west of Denver. Twosomes hoping to summit them should aim to arrive as early as possible. Past hikers suggest ensuring your vehicle is a four-wheel-drive model capable of traversing the forest road to the trailhead. The out-and-back hiking trail to Grays and Torreys peaks runs about 8 miles from the trailhead to the summit and is most easily accessible from late spring through fall. Travelers should plan to hike up around 3,600 feet and will want to pack sunscreen, windbreakers and plenty of water.
While Colorado has no shortage of hot springs, the surrounding forest and elaborate stonework of Strawberry Park Hot Springs make its water features stand out. Open year-round, the facilities include various pools for soaking, the coolest of which remains around 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Massages and aquatic therapy sessions are available if you want to kick the relaxation up a notch. For those hoping for an even more romantic ambiance, arrive in winter when powder snow blankets the surrounding forest. (The facilities include a heated cabin for changing.) Keep in mind that these hot springs become adults-only and clothing-optional after dark.
Couples looking to spend multiple days at the hot springs can opt for accommodations that run the gamut from a converted train caboose to standard cabins to relatively primitive campsites. Alternatively, you can plan a daytrip from Steamboat Springs, which sits 7 miles south. Shuttle companies offer routes that connect the two destinations, so anyone iffy about the prospect of driving through snow can still make the trek. Travelers staying in Steamboat Springs can take advantage of the area’s ski resort when you’re not enjoying the hot springs. The best hotels in Steamboat Springs, such as the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas, tout private pools and easy access to golf courses, among other amenities.
(Courtesy of Aspen Art Museum)
The natural beauty surrounding Aspen earns worldwide acclaim. What’s more, the area’s four ski mountains – Snowmass, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands and Aspen Mountain – all help cement the town’s reputation as a world-class ski destination. While skiing and snowboarding are Aspen’s main activities, the town also offers an art museum, various food and shopping options, and an assortment of warm weather activities for spring, summer and fall visitors. Plus, those who want to learn a bit about Aspen’s unique history can sign up for an Aspen ghost tour.
A collection of luxurious hotels is available for any lovebirds looking to splurge. The Little Nell provides contemporary digs and mountain access, while the equally high-end Hotel Jerome leans on its history of welcoming visitors since 1889 with top-notch service and amenities. With everything Aspen offers, it’s easy to blow through a budget. Multiple days of lift tickets add up, and many of the best Aspen hotels charge high nightly rates. Additionally, many of the town’s stellar dining venues, ranging from après-ski bars to romantic restaurants, are exceptionally expensive.
Couples can offset some of the costs of visiting Aspen by seeking out free and cheap activities. A hike up the picturesque Maroon Bells only costs $10 per vehicle (spots must be reserved in advance), while a scenic drive through Independence Pass won’t cost you a dime; note that both attractions are open in the summer only, with Independence Pass closing after the first snowfall of the season.
(Courtesy of Lost Valley Ranch)
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a stay at Lost Valley Ranch would be akin to roughing it in the wilderness, given the dude ranch‘s location amid roughly 26,000 acres of Pike National Forest. In reality, this all-inclusive property situated about 70 miles south of Denver leans closer to a luxury ranch retreat than a primitive campground. Couples can book a private cabin, which comes equipped with a porch for taking in the stunning views and a fireplace for cozy evening cuddling (with firewood delivered daily). Much of the appeal of a stay at Lost Valley Ranch comes in the quiet moments, which are facilitated by the lack of internet access, TVs or telephones in the cabins.
Beyond your digs, couples can live out homesteading fantasies with activities like horseback riding, cattle roundups, rodeos and fly-fishing. What’s more, lodging rates include three meals a day, with options for meadow and mountaintop picnics. Past visitors loved Lost Valley Ranch’s dedicated staff, saying that employees do everything in their power to make stays relaxing. Many even choose to return annually.
Adam Bove|Courtesy of Visit Denver
Often overlooked in favor of the Rocky Mountains to the northwest, Denver makes its own claim as a top romantic destination in Colorado. The Mile High City boasts an assortment of attractions, ranging from public parks to museums to an impressive collection of breweries. Couples can even book a brewery tour to learn more about Colorado’s beer scene. For culinary-minded twosomes who would rather explore the city’s dining scene, you’ll find plenty of eatery options at historic Larimer Square as well as Restaurant Row in the Uptown neighborhood. Duos can also sign up for a food tour with some history woven through. Denver Botanic Gardens provides adventurous lovebirds with a taste of the wilderness found in the rest of the Centennial State, while downtown Denver’s Washington Park is stunning at dusk. For a truly unique activity unavailable anywhere else, stop by the International Church of Cannabis for a light show and meditation experience.
Located outside of downtown Denver, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre remains a bucket list destination for nature and music lovers. The iconic amphitheater hosts concerts, as well as an assortment of events like yoga classes and film viewings. Whether you stop by for an event or simply to take in the stunning venue and peruse the visitor center, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre provides a memorable date destination.
Due to Denver’s proximity to Denver International Airport, most couples will at least drive through Denver on their way to other parts of Colorado. Four Seasons and The Ritz-Carlton both offer outposts here to attract travelers, while the location of The Crawford Hotel in Denver’s Union Station and its train-inspired accommodations and public spaces make it a convenient home base for Amtrak riders and train enthusiasts. For more accommodation options, see our list of Denver’s best hotels.
(Courtesy of St Julien Hotel & Spa)
The soothing St Julien Hotel & Spa (one of Boulder’s top hotels) immediately makes travelers feel at ease with its elegant and eco-conscious design. Accommodations at St Julien further the hotel’s calming aesthetic with slate flooring, granite counters and earth tones, which are complemented by views of the mountains or downtown Boulder. Recent visitors particularly appreciated the property’s central location. Romantic packages at St Julien include perks like Champagne paired with chocolate-covered strawberries and hotel credits for use at the on-site dining areas and spa. This hotel treats guests to impressive cuisine at Jill’s Restaurant and Bistro, while the lobby T-Zero Lounge provides the perfect place for a nightcap with live music and cocktails made with local Colorado liquor.
Boulder’s Front Range location makes it an excellent option for romantic weekend getaways. The hotel sits close to the popular Boulder Creek Path, a terrific option for hiking. E-bike tours that weave visitors in and around Boulder are also available for duos who would rather explore on two wheels than their own two feet. For a bit more excitement and an excellent workout, watch the sun rise over Boulder from the Royal Arch or the Flatirons, both of which require difficult hikes. After an exhausting day exploring Boulder, traveling pairs can peruse Pearl Street Mall’s quaint storefronts.
Jack Richmond Photography|Courtesy of Dunton Hot Springs
Dunton provides a secluded retreat for couples hoping to truly get off the grid during their time in Colorado. Dunton was established in 1885 and went from a mining camp to a ghost town to a cattle ranch to a dude ranch for tourists before becoming the luxurious hideaway it is today. The current owners renovated the entire town, transforming ramshackle log cabins into the luxurious Dunton Hot Springs and later adding glamping accommodations at Dunton River Camp, setting a high bar for romantic destinations in the West. The resort sits about a 75-mile drive southwest of Telluride. It consists of a dozen hand-built cabins and a luxurious tent, which mix historical elements with impressive amenities like fireplaces and plunge pools.
The town’s primary attractions are its namesake hot springs, which range from 85 to 106 degrees and can be enjoyed in various spots on-site. Additionally, activities such as horseback riding, fly-fishing, hiking, mountaineering, mountain biking and rock climbing are available in summer, while outdoorsy pursuits like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing can be enjoyed every winter. An add-on romance package – which includes a privately guided activity, two massages, Champagne and more – is available for couples who want to dial up the romance.
(Courtesy of Visit Telluride)
Telluride’s boisterous atmosphere appeals to couples who think of drinks and dancing when imagining the perfect date. Affectionately nicknamed “To-Hell-You-Ride” for its energetic social scene, the town is peppered with saloons, pubs and lounges, so you can be confident that the next round for you and your significant other is never too far away. But that’s not to say that Telluride lacks the staples of a typical Colorado ski town: Telluride Ski Resort offers more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain. The resort also encompasses Mountain Village, which is accessible via a scenic gondola and offers a quaint selection of restaurants and bars along its cobblestone streets.
Couples visiting Telluride in summer are not at a loss for things to do, either. Numerous hiking trails crisscross the surrounding mountains, allowing visitors to picnic near abandoned mines or while enjoying stunning vistas. Town Park presents another option for scenic strolls, and it hosts many of Telluride’s warm weather festivals, which make for excellent dates. The San Juan Skyway travels through two national forests and numerous small towns, satisfying anyone longing for a memorable car ride. Meanwhile, Ophir Pass presents an excellent off-roading option for couples in search of a slightly more exhilarating ride.
Following a busy day outdoors, retreat to the Lumière with Inspirato – one of Telluride’s top hotels. This property sits in Mountain Village and houses chic accommodations that come complete with fireplaces, hardwood floors and a slew of additional luxurious amenities.
(Courtesy of Visit Glenwood Springs)
Don’t overlook relatively unassuming Glenwood Springs when scouting out potential destinations for your next romantic trip. The town sits at the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers in the scenic Roaring Fork Valley. The area houses two popular accommodation options, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort and Iron Mountain Hot Springs, both of which boast numerous springs (think: hot tubs) for visitors to soak in. While multiple days marinating in warm water may sound like the perfect romantic vacation for some, Glenwood Springs’ attractions are more diverse. The 3-mile Hanging Lake Trail offers a moderately challenging hike with a gratifying view of waterfalls and one of Colorado’s top lakes. Meanwhile, adrenaline junkies can enjoy the thrill rides and cave tours at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
Couples can opt to stay in one of the relatively affordable hotels in Glenwood Springs or splurge on an ultra-luxurious option within the nearby town of Aspen, which is located about 40 miles southeast. Visitors to Vail, about 60 miles east of Glenwood Springs, can book a Glenwood hot springs tour, which includes transportation between the two towns and time to soak in the area’s hot springs.
Perched about 65 miles north of Denver, Fort Collins sits along the Cache la Poudre River in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Couples visiting during the warm weather can stroll through Colorado State University’s Annual Flower Trial Gardens, which boasts more than 1,000 different cultivated varieties of annuals. Additional warm weather activities in Fort Collins take advantage of the city’s natural attractions, from rafting down the river to biking the more than 200 miles of dedicated bike lanes. If you do visit after it gets colder, Fort Collins still offers plenty to do, eat and drink. Grab a bite and shop at Jessup Farm Artisan Village, which offers crafts and farm-to-table dining, then hit up any of the city’s 20-plus craft breweries, including the popular New Belgium Brewing Co.
Accommodations in Fort Collins are also cheaper than their counterparts in Denver and Boulder, making the city an excellent option for couples on a budget. The Elizabeth Hotel, Autograph Collection, one of the city’s top hotels, impresses guests with its musical theme. Visitors can use the record players in the rooms before heading to the Sunset Lounge for live music and views of the Rocky Mountains through floor-to-ceiling windows. Additionally, the hotel’s on-site restaurant, The Emporium, matches wine with a French- and American-inspired menu, making it an excellent option for a romantic dinner.
The trek to Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa is part of the property’s appeal. Gateway is located just east of the Utah-Colorado border, putting Grand Junction more than 50 miles away, but most guests appreciate the scenic drive. The Western-themed property offers activities ranging from exploring a historical ranch to hiking and mountain biking. Gateway Canyons also provides a selection of romantic options, including an on-site spa and seasonal pools with views of the surrounding rock formations. For dining, Entrada and Paradox Grille make up the resort’s primary options, with a coffee shop and poolside bar and eatery also on-site. Private dining options are available for anyone looking to ramp up the evening’s romanticism.
Additional things to do in and around Canyonlands include visiting the Gateway Auto Museum or exploring the surrounding parks, such as Arches National Park and the Grand Mesa, though the latter is about 100 miles away. Vacation rentals are also an excellent way to explore Colorado’s more disparate Western Slope, especially if you have a specific town or hike you want to cross off your bucket list.